In today's episode 2024 Photography Trends information from Zenfolio. A new search for Nessie hopefully with NASA's help and Nikon finalizes purchase of RED Cinema cameras.

You can find the show notes here.

Show Notes

2024 Photography Trends

Photography website and commerce platform Zenfolio has published its “2024 State of the Photography Industry” report, exploring the changing trends among photographers and their thoughts on significant topics like business and artificial intelligence.

Before diving into it, this year’s survey saw a massive 237% increase in total responses compared to last year, thanks in large part to collaboration with other brands, like Format, ShootProof, SLR Lounge, Professional Photographers of America (PPA), and Miller’s Professional Imaging. As for the sample, 78% of respondents are from North America, including 73% in the United States. 28% of all U.S. respondents hail from California, Texas, New York, and Florida. Nonetheless, 7,646 photographers from 102 countries participated.

Of these 7,646 photographers, 66.5% describe themselves as strictly a photographer, while 21.1% say they’re a photographer and videographer. The remaining 12.4% say they’re a hobbyist/enthusiast. The percentage of hybrid shooters increased from 17.4% last year. Another interesting note is that 47.9% of respondents say they are working for themselves full-time, an increase of 6.9 percentage points, year over year.

The survey also asks photographers about their specialties. The top three specialties for full-time self-employed photographers haven’t changed — they’re still portrait, wedding, and commercial, respectively. However, both portrait and wedding have carved out larger slices of the pie, while sports photography has taken a dip.

For part-time photographers, wildlife photography dropped out of the top six, and landscape photography took a hit, dropping from second to fourth position and losing nearly four percentage points.

77% of respondents are aged 40 and older, and 28% of responses came from photographers 60 years or older. Only 6.2% percent of respondents are under 30 years old. It could be more evident if this is because the photography industry itself features few young people, or if younger people are less likely to be captured in Zenfolio’s survey.

The survey also offers some fascinating insight into photography equipment preferences. In 2023, 52% of respondents shot with a DSLR camera, while 41.4% opted for mirrorless equipment. Just one year later, the proportions have flipped. 52.4% of photographers now shoot mirrorless, while 40.1% still work with a DSLR.

The age group that most prefer mirrorless cameras is the 30-39 segment, while on the youngest and oldest ends of the spectrum, mirrorless and DSLR use is pretty evenly split.

For photographers trying to earn money through photography, 2024 was similar to 2023. Roughly the same proportion of photographers thought business was busier, the same, or worse than the prior year — 21.5%, 29.5%, and 39.2%, respectively. There is a slight trend toward better business.

Like last year, the most lucrative genre of photography is wedding photography, with 23.3% of full-time photographers reporting gross revenues over $100,000. Sports photography is next, then portraiture.

Concerning how photographers earn money, digital files are a larger proportion of business than “all other products,” except, interestingly, in wedding photography. 52.6% of respondents offer mostly digital items to customers but also some print products. 24.2% exclusively sell digital products, while 4.1% sell just physical products, like prints.

Like last year, the 2024 survey also features questions concerning AI. Somewhat surprisingly, photographers think more positively about AI in 2024, with positive responses increasing by 7%.

Many photographers are using AI as part of their workflow now, primarily within various AI-powered photo editing features. Noise reduction, background removal, and auto-subject selection are the most popular uses of AI. Less than 10% of respondents say they use AI to generate images.
Zenfolio’s complete 2024 State of the Photography Industry report has a lot of incredible information beyond what is mentioned here, so head to Zenfolio to digest the complete details.

Loch Ness Search

NASA has been urged to offer its “advanced imaging technology” to help in a new search for the Loch Ness Monster.

The Loch Ness Monster, or “Nessie”, is a folklore creature that lives in a giant freshwater lake in Scotland and thousands of people are determined to prove the mythical beast’s existence.

The Loch Ness Centre in the Highlands has now asked space agency NASA, and other scientists and universities, to lend their expertise in a new hunt for the monster.

“We are hoping that Nessie hunters around the world will help us reach the people at NASA,” Aimee Todd from the Loch Ness Centre tells Sky News.

“We have gone to U.K. universities. We are hoping that experts from NASA might have some advanced imaging technology to scan the loch.

“We would have to sit down and talk to them about how to get it here.”

The latest search will take place from May 30 to June 2. Volunteers during the new search will be tasked to keep an eye on the surface, looking for breaks in the water. They will be briefed on what to look out for and how to record findings.

Those unable to make the search in person can get involved through the live cameras on the Visit Inverness Loch Ness website.

This latest initiative follows a search by hundreds of people in 2023 which deployed the latest technology including thermal drones and infrared cameras.

The story of the Loch Ness Monster dates all the way back to the sixth century but the modern-day legend began in 1933 when a hotel manager reported seeing a “water beast” in Loch Ness, which is the largest freshwater lake in the United Kingdom.

Since then, there has been a spate of alleged sightings leading to a worldwide fascination with Nessie. In 1934, a famous black-and-white photo purporting to show the monster was published.

Known as “the surgeon’s photograph” it was debunked 70 years later when it was revealed that it was actually a 12-inch-high model made from plastic wood and a toy submarine.

Scientists believe that some of the sightings are probably down to a seal or a giant eel. 

Interestingly, our own “Sea Monster” here in the United States has been confirmed by a team of scientists back in 2013. There have been stories for decades about a Loch Ness type creature in Lake Champlain in Vermont. During an expedition back in 2013 using underwater listening equipment, the team discovered and recorded echo location sounds coming from the depths of the lake. When later analyzed the sounds did NOT match with any known species of marine mammals.

Nikon’s RED Purchase Finalized

Nikon announced on March 7 that it had entered an agreement to purchase RED. Now, Nikon’s huge acquisition is officially complete, just in time for Nikon’s NAB 2024 appearance.

While it’s not surprising that the purchase went through, there is always that tiny chance that something goes sideways before an acquisition crosses the finish line. That will be no problem for Nikon, as it has officially acquired 100% of the outstanding interests of, LLC (RED).

RED’s President, Jarred Land, is now a “close Advisor” to the company, along with RED’s founder, James Jannard. Nikon Imaging Business Unit’s Keiji Oishi is now the CEO, while Tommy Rios, Executive Vice President of RED, is Co-CEO.

“Welcoming RED, a company that has been at the forefront of innovative technology, to the Nikon family is sure to expand the possibilities of imaging expression, and further delight the market with its innovation,” comments Hiroyuki Ikegami, Executive Vice President and General Manager of Nikon’s Imaging Business Unit. “Combining the best of both companies and working together to develop new, distinctive products, is our goal and for the brand to remain the choice for fans of Nikon and RED, and possibly reach out to an even wider audience.”

RED’s new CEO, Oishi, adds, “I believe it is my mission as the representative of RED to develop the market in a way that will pay respect to the corporate cultures of RED and Nikon. You can look forward to RED’s future product development which will aim to meet and exceed the expectations of cinematographers around the world.”

“We are the pioneer in digital cinematography, and the synergy with Nikon will only help us to continue to evolve,” says RED Co-CEO Tommy Rios. “We’ll continue to deliver cutting-edge technology that no one has ever seen before. We remain committed to working together with the RED dealers around the world.”

“It is a proud moment for me to see RED, a brand that I have nurtured with passion for over 20 years, gain the opportunity to achieve new heights with the help of Nikon, a company that I also love,” says Jannard.

Nikon says RED’s current product lineup, partners, and relationships with dealers will remain the same. RED will continue to honor existing warranties and provide continued repair services, customer services, and product support.

“Nikon and RED will merge the strengths of both companies to develop distinctive products, while leveraging the business foundations and networks of both companies to expand the fast-growing professional digital cinema camera market,” Nikon explains.

There remain some open questions about what Nikon’s new acquisition will mean for the industry, but for now, it sounds like both companies will continue on their existing course while looking forward to realizing the benefits that both Nikon and RED bring to the table.

Nikon has yet to disclose how much it paid to acquire RED, although this information is expected to be part of upcoming financial disclosures.

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